Apple has a reputation for keeping its devices safe from hackers but lately, the technology giant has been making news for all the wrong reasons. Just yesterday it was reported that a years-old bug in iOS can allow hackers to access default Mail app on iPhone and now there is a bug crashing iPhones.
The latest Apple mobile OS version iOS 13.4.1 has a text bomb bug that forces the device (Mac, Apple Watch, iPhone, or iPad) to crash after receiving an app notification containing a certain string of characters. Interestingly, the characters are in the Sindhi language while the text also includes Italian flag emoji.
Whenever an iOS device receives this notification from an app, which could be any app including Messages app, Whatsapp, or social media apps such as Twitter, containing this particular string of text, the device starts malfunctioning.
Furthermore, the user may face a wide range of issues such as, in the worst-case scenario the device may crash, or else, it may freeze, turned off, or the touch screen may stop responding to user inputs.
The origins of this string of text aren’t clear as yet but it is supposed to have originated from a Telegram group. Since the text string can appear in any application’s notifications, it is most likely to affect thousands of users at the same time.
As per the analysis of EverythingApplePro, the presence of Italian flag emoji doesn’t make any difference because the device crashes anyway because of the Sindhi characters. For your information, Sindhi is a language spoken in Pakistan and India.
How the bug affects iPhones:
The craziest iOS crash text bug 💀 pic.twitter.com/29LJPb67WP
— EverythingApplePro (@EveryApplePro) April 23, 2020
An important consideration is that text string bug threat is hard to mitigate since users cannot control incoming notifications and anyone can send such texts that would lead to crashing the device.
Another example of how the bug affects iPhones can be seen below:
video of it in action, credit to MTAC on discord pic.twitter.com/hvFqkkAHg1
— Benjamin G. (@randomblock1_) April 23, 2020
Text bomb bugs have already surfaced quite a few times, and unfortunately, most of the times Apple iOS fell victim to such bugs. Back in 2015, the intensely viral Effective Power text string did almost the same thing, but it mainly crashed the Messages app and didn’t force the device to crash.
It is worth noting that the latest text bomb doesn’t impact iOS 13.4.5 probably because it is still in beta, while the other versions have already been released. This means all recently released iOS versions are vulnerable to text string bug. Apple will, therefore, need to fix the bug before releasing the iOS 13.4.5, which is only a few weeks away
In the meantime, you can protect your device from text string bug by turning off app notifications until a patch is released. Even if the device crashes after receiving the notification it can be restarted easily and there’s no such issue later on. Learn more about the bug here.